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Male busker playing the saxophone at night
Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan

Your essential guide to Sydney Solstice in Newtown and the surrounds

Food, music and more abound in the heart of the Inner West this winter

By Time Out in association with Destination NSW
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Sydney’s nightlife is ready to shake off the lowly expectations of the past to prove just how vibrant and exciting the Harbour City can be after dark. And what better way to do that than with a grand two-week showcase of food, drink and culture after the sun goes down in the lead-up to the longest night of the year on June 21?

Introducing Sydney Solstice, a new 14-day winter celebration of the best of Sydney’s night-time industries kicking off on June 8, packed with events heroing the city’s finest hospitality and creativity across four key precincts: the CBD, Oxford Street, Darling Harbour and Newtown. To make sure you’re across everything this sprawling fortnight has in store, we’ve partnered with the masterminds behind Solstice, Destination NSW, to create neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood guides outlining the top local events you won’t want to miss.

Newtown can easily claim to be one of the most dynamic, fast-paced and eclectic nightspots in Sydney, catering to Sydneysiders of every taste. Be it in the heart of the suburb on King Street, or around Newtown’s neighbouring suburbs – Enmore, Erskineville, Alexandria, Chippendale, Darlington and Redfern – here are the must-catch events of Sydney Solstice.

Where to experience Sydney Solstice in and around the Newtown area

If you consider yourself a foodie, or even if you’re just someone who appreciates a damn good feed, South Eveleigh is a suburb that should, quite literally, be on the tip of your tongue. Some of Sydney’s most esteemed restaurateurs have banded together to launch Sydney’s newest dining precinct, and for two days during Sydney Solstice on June 18-19, the area’s top-notch nosh will be getting a hearty side serving of live performance, art and music. The South Eveleigh Sydney Solstice Festival will be the first major public event held in this food-filled corner of the city and will include a medley of free events including live gigs, surprising performance art, installations and roving pop-up gigs.

Some of Australia’s biggest hospitality heavyweights, including celeb chef Kyle Kwong and zero-waste pioneer Matt Whiley, will showcase some of the best food and drink anywhere in Sydney, with restaurants such as RaRa Chan, Kylie Kwong's new eatery Lucky Kwong, Eat Fuh, Whitton, Steve Costi’s Famous Fish, Fishbowl, Bekya, Pepper Seed Thai, Sushi Hon, North Sandwiches and Yoho Loco offering extraordinary cuisine from sit-down banquets to on-the-go street eats. You can also book in to iterations of the wildly popular cheesemaking classes from Kristen Allan and try your hand at creating your own mozzarella, burrata and stracciatella or ricotta, cultured butter and yoghurt.

While you’re here: Head to neighbouring Carriageworks to catch the tail end of the National, Sydney’s biennial survey of the very best homegrown contemporary art that comes to a close on June 20.

A host of Newtown’s small bars, pubs and public spaces will be boot-scooting to the sounds of Australia’s distinctive brand of country and western music this Sydney Solstice, as the area welcomes the very first Country and Inner Western Festival on June 12 and 13. Kasey Chambers, Tex Perkins, Wagons and All Our Exes Live in Texas are just some of the big names performing, so break out your flannel and fringe, dust off those cowboy boots and get ready to box step to the very best emerging and veteran artists on Australia’s country, alt-country, bluegrass, folk, Americana and blues circuit. This hoedown of a weekend festival will also showcase the best food, drink and craft ale in the area, with pop-up gigs taking over venues and outdoor spaces across Newtown and its surrounds.

While you’re in the area: If all this music has your toes tapping, why not take some of it home with you? Head to Repressed Records on King Street, where you’ll find one of the city’s largest collections of secondhand and limited-edition vinyl, CDs and cassettes, as well as other cool clobber like band merch, T-shirts and zines.

Discover more of the area

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